Posts Tagged ‘Charlotte Schaff’

Membership Has Its Privileges

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Last week, my colleague, Tressa Robbins, reviewed some ideas for PR resolutions. She referenced a post by Charlotte Schaff, who is looking to get more involved in her local PRSA, which made me wonder why people take the time to join a professional organization? My own personal thoughts aside, I queried my network on why they join professional organizations, and what are the advantages. Considering the economy, why are they paying their dues? (Full disclosure, I am a member of several organizations, and the current president of Washington Women in Public Relations.)

The top advantage cited by everyone was networking. Lauren Lawson, Goodwill Industries, met her future boss at an accreditation event. Lawson told her of her goal to work at a nonprofit. They kept in touch, and her goal came true. You need to look at networking as building relationships. Lawson’s advice, “It helps to be persistent (without being annoying), look for likeminded individuals or people you’d like to achieve to be and also offer help when you can to that person. You never know what inside knowledge you have that might be helpful to someone else.”

Anne Lasseign Tiedt, APR, Momentum Public Relations writes, “I joined the Austin AWC professional chapter my senior year in college. The instant connections and access to networking opportunities helped me land my first job.”

For anyone who travels or has moved cities, a professional organization can be a life-line, offering activities and a network of people with similar interests. I experienced this when BurrellesLuce  first moved me to Washington, D.C. a number of years ago. Some of my best friends were found at professional development seminars.

In the video below, Robin Lane, ZComm, explains why being a part of a professional organization is important.

Enhance Business and Learn About the Industry
Networking can lead to new business opportunities as well. Beth Keller Legate, Image Base, joined IABC over 12 years ago to drive new business, and she has remained a member because it worked.

Organizations give members an opportunity to learn more about the industry and relevant topics through panels, speakers, events and conferences. Melissa Chang, APR, has found PRSA’s Travel and Tourism Conference to be helpful, and she especially enjoyed a “lightening round” pitching session one year. 

Opportunities to volunteer run ramped.  Independent writer and editor Richard Buse says, “I think the greatest benefits I’ve gained have come from volunteering. There are lots of great workshops and seminars out there, but I find that I learn much more through the hands-on experience I get from volunteering for various chapter functions.”

Meghan Sager, New Media Strategies, explains how membership in a professional organization recently helped her career:

Your needs may change as you progress through your career. Jeff Ghannam, Biotechnology Institute, commented, “Ten years later (after joining PRSA), the chapter now offers me something totally different. It gives me the opportunity to explore and enhance my leadership abilities… This service on the board has allowed me to enhance my people management skills, public speaking ability, and my ability to organize and delegate, just to name a few benefits.”

Additional advantages:

  • Resources and publications.
  • Learning new relevant information and tactics
  • Meet potential partners
  • Network of resources for questions
  • Job boards
  • Mentoring programs
  • Friendships

While there are many benefits to joining a professional organization, you may wish to exercise caution and do some research before committing to a membership. Consultant Robin Smothers says, “One thing to keep in mind is to make sure the organization will meet your needs: I wanted to expand into a new industry a few years ago, so I plopped down $200 to join a organization I thought was a good fit. Turns out that although the people were nice, they did not have the power to hire or even offer recommendations to those who did hire.”

 And Meredith Mobley, marketing communications coordinator and PRSA Hampton Roads board member, reminds us that “with any membership, it is what you make of it.” Simply attending events, is not enough, you need to get involved.

Why have you joined a professional organization? Please share your thoughts on making the most of membership.

PR Resolutions and Goals for the New Year

Friday, January 8th, 2010
Flickr Image: Gavin Luhrs

Flickr Image: Gavin Luhrs

As I began to think about the topic for this first post of the New Year, I thought about my goals and aspirations. (Colleen Flood, my colleague here at BurrellesLuce had similiar inspiration when she wrote about “Setting Smart Goals in 2010“).  Then, I realized that there is already lots of good information out there – many that parallel my own thoughts.  So, I thought I’d provide a round-up of some of the posts I’ve read in the past week – ones that I think we can all relate to. 

  • Associated Press business writer Joyce M. Rosenburg did a story on small business owners making resolutions. The first interviewee was a PR agency owner and her resolution was one we should all strive to do:  spend quality time with clients. In that same article, another PR agency president planned to improve her work/life balance. 
  • My Twitter friend @PRcog has some resolutions, found on the PRBC (PR Breakfast Club), site that I think many of us can relate to, as well: Stop using descriptors like “cutting (or bleeding) edge,” “revolutionary” or the “next big thing” and to convince clients to stop caring about their follower/fan count.  He doesn’t say it, but it’s implied that they should be focusing more on the strategy, not the tool. 
  • Linda Jacobson, APR, published her New Year wish list which included promising to only put out quality content (versus a press release just for the sake of releasing something). She also encouraged us to “play nice with others,” stating that, “Marketers, advertisers and PR professionals need to be on the same team. Playing to each strength usually gets targeted results. When one of the three legs decides not to do this, the result skews and doesn’t deliver full strength.”
  • Charlotte Schaff posted her top ten resolutions on the Valley PR blog, which include making the most of her PRSA membership, improve media relations by being a connector and source to the media, and (one I can personally relate to) saying “no” more often. 
  • PR student and PRSSA national vice president of professional development, Nick Lucido resolves to learn to lead – his resolutions are in relation to his studies but can be applied in the business world as well.
  • Finally, Brian Solis, in his “Greatest Hits of 2009” series, states “Our resolutions for 2010 must include learning and participation. With an open mind and an open heart, we can continue to learn, grow, and in turn, teach those around us to make 2010 a banner year for new media literacy and change.”

 What resolutions have you made? What would you add to this list? I look forward to your participation!